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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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London and Washington put forward to explain or justify their delay
failed to satisfy the Soviet leaders since, with every month, their military
resources were decreasing while, relatively speaking, the strength of the
Soviet's partners as future adversaries was growing.
Russia, however, was still holding one strong trump in her hand; she
possessed the instrument whereby she could exert pressure on her
partners ; viz., the threat of ceasing her offensive action and of concluding
a separate peace with Germany—a move which might, perhaps, have the
effect of prolonging the war for an unlimited amount of time. The winter
of 1943-1944 was to see the end of the period during which Stalin was
under the desperate necessity of achieving his goal, namely, to extract
from his partners in the Alliance commitments concerning the booty
which he intended sharing according to his plan, i.e., Germany and various
other countries ; and to direct the war into such channels as would permit
him to secure the promised areas ; for, should those lands of Europe be
entered not by the Red Army but by the forces of another Power, the
commitments of the partners would have had relative value. An invasion
of the German's European fortress from the South, so desired by the
Anglo-Saxon Powers, appeared to be extremely dangerous to Stalin's
ultimate designs. He could still afford to agree to an offensive through
Italy, the peninsula was a blind-alley blocked by the Alps, but certainly
not to an advance through the Balkans. Any appearance of the Anglo-
American forces in Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and farther North along that
belt of States parallel with the Russian's western frontier would mean the
collapse of Stalin's c great plan.' He came to Teheran once more
demanding that Europe should be invaded by way of the Channel, and
only by way of the Channel, without a supplementary offensive through
the Balkans.
The invasion from the British Isles was a unique undertaking in the
history of modern warfare. It was hazardous and uncertain, and if it
proved successful, part of the success at any rate, was due to the lack of
foresight of an enemy who, having dispersed his forces, was never able to
wage a battle on the scale justified by the strength of his armies
By demanding an invasion of Europe from the shores of Britain only,
its chances of success were considerably lessened, but Stalin, convinced
that any offensive through the Balkans would affect his intentions of
exploiting the victory, stuck to his point, and the strategical question
which he carne to settle in the Persian capital received the answer for
which he had planned. Obviously, he realised that, in the event of a
successful invasion of Europe, and with each liberated square mile of the
Continent, the threat of a separate Russo-German peace would grow less
serious. Unquestionably the scales would begin to tip over as soon as
the Anglo-Saxon armies placed their foot on the Continent, even on the
shores of France, and Russia's position in the Allied camp would of
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